Student Spotlight: Interview with Michelle Moulden

We interviewed Michelle Moulden, a senior in the HTM program who leads our PCMA Student Chapter as President and is the Senior Representative for Le Gourmet. Michelle will be leaving her mark as she has made a tremendous impact on the Hospitality Program throughout her four years at James Madison University. Please take the time to read through her inspirational achievements and encouraging attitude!

Name: Michelle Moulden
Age: 21
Year: Senior
Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA

  • How did you get involved in Le Gourmet? What were your duties for your role/position throughout the planning/execution of the event?
    • I had first heard of Le Gourmet during my Freshman year from Patrick Crosson, who, at the time, was a Junior helping plan the event.  I was fortunate enough to hear and see a lot of the stuff that he was working on for the event and became very interested in it.  Patrick became somewhat of a mentor to me over the years and always encouraged me to take advantage of all the opportunities the hospitality department had.  Towards the end of my sophomore year, Michael called me into his office and asked if I would be interested in becoming the junior representative for the Le Gourmet event.  So, following in Patrick’s footsteps, I graciously accepted!  This year, my position carried over into the senior representative for the event!
    • As a representative for Le Gourmet, the duties for the planning portion of the event begin over the summer, and really picked up within the first month of school.  Luckily, we are fortunate enough to have wonderful working partnerships with various vendors in the DC area that give us large discounts and donations on many aspects of the event, thanks to our amazing advisory board.  However, this means that a lot of the larger items like linens, food, and entertainment are preplanned for us since they are usually donated items.  So, our focus tends to be on the more intricate details, such as employee outfits, menu cards, nametags, etc.  Maggie Goetzman, the junior representative, and I worked hard over the summer and the beginning of this semester to design this various aspects and really play up the 80’s theme: Purple Rain!  We got to work closely with several board members to come up with different ideas and then choose the one that fit the theme best.
    • As for the execution of the event, Maggie and I were both supervisors for the day!  We were in charge of training the student employee’s on registration, coat check, and the silent auction portions of the evening.  We then oversaw the different areas throughout the evening to ensure everything was running smoothly.   Any guest questions or concerns were directed to us, and we had to make sure that everyone was having a great time and enjoying themselves!
  • Tell us about the event! How did the event go? Was it what you expected?
    • The event was a HUGE success!  Everyone had an amazing time and lots of money was raised for our program!  Since this was my second year helping with this event, I was more prepared and knew what to expect.  However, there are always things that come up last minute that you have to react and respond quickly to (like the printer running out of ink last minute…!).  We received so many compliments from guests on how wonderful the student employee’s were and how much fun the event was – to me, that shows what a great success the evening was!
  • Now that Le Gourmet is over, what accomplishments are you most proud of for all the hard work you’ve done for Le Gourmet?
    • I think what I’m most proud of is what this event represents.  My involvement with Le Gourmet has allowed me to meet professionals in the industry I would have never had the opportunity to meet otherwise.  After meeting the board members, it made me realize how many people truly care and are involved in the promotion of our program!  There are board members who are alum of JMU that want to give back, but there are also several that have no tie to JMU at all, but still believe in our program and what we do here, and want to help us be the best program possible.
  • Tell us about your role as President for our PCMA Student Chapter and the trip planned to Orlando for the Convening Leaders Conference.
    • PCMA has been an invaluable part of my time here at JMU.  I have learned so much about myself and about the industry because of this organization.  In my current role as President, I have the easy job, while the rest of exec has to do all the hard work!!! What I mean by that is I oversee all of the exec positions and pull all the information together to make sure things run smoothly.  I personally am not planning the events (the hard work!!!), but I am there to give advice and make sure that we’re providing a variety of events and giving our members everything that they want and need.
    • This year, PCMA is holding their annual conference, Convening Leaders, in Orlando.  This conference has over 3,500 attendees, which allows for some truly amazing networking opportunities with some of the best professionals in the industry!  There are hundreds of educational sessions that we are able to attend, and we are even able to choose which ones are most relevant to our interests.  Every year, there are several motivational speakers and it really is a once in a lifetime opportunity to hear them speak!  This is a conference all about meeting planning, planned by a group of professional meeting planners.  With a little bit of imagination, you can start to envision just how unbelievable this conference really is!  We are so excited to be taking 11 student members to the Convening Leaders Conference in Orlando this year, and I can’t wait to see what each member takes away from this unforgettable experience!
  • What was the application process like when you applied for the Convening Leaders Scholarship? What benefits come with being the winner of the scholarship?
    • The process was fairly simple!  In order to apply, you had to meet certain requirements such as GPA, being a student member of PCMA, and being enrolled in a hospitality program.  Then, I had to submit a copy of my resume, a letter of recommendation, and a 500-1,000 word essay describing what I hope to gain from attending the Convening Leaders Conference.  Even though the process was simple, there are huge benefits to being chosen as a scholarship winner!  The benefits include being awarded registration, housing for up to four nights, and transportation to and from Orlando.  Essentially, the entire trip is paid for and I am able to attend for free!  Needless to say, I am very thankful for this amazing opportunity!
  • What are you looking forward to most about the Convening Leaders Conference?
    • I am most looking forward to seeing what all of our student members take away from this opportunity and bring back to our chapter!  It is always so eye opening to see what is out there and being able to bring that information back and share it with other students and the department.  I am also looking forward to networking with professionals from across the country.  Being a senior, I am looking forward to seeing what job opportunities are available to me upon graduation and hopefully (fingers crossed!!!) finding my future employer!!
  • Now that you’re almost halfway through your last year with the HTM program, what is your best piece of advice for the students in the HM program? What are some of your favorite memories from your experiences with Le Gourmet, PCMA, and the HTM program?
    • My advice would be to take advantage of every opportunity given to you and get involved early!  Our department, as well as JMU itself, offers so many things that you won’t be able to get anywhere else after you graduate, so take advantage of them while you’re here!  Get experience wherever you can, and take initiative to better yourself, rather than waiting for something to fall into your lap – that’s what will get you the job after graduation!  I was fortunate enough to have Patrick as my mentor, who pushed me to get more involved and helped me find my way through the program.  That has been one of the most valuable things throughout my career at JMU.  I encourage everyone to reach out to older members and ask for their guidance and advice!  I know I would be more than happy to talk to anyone interested in my past experiences or how I got involved in the organizations I’m involved in!  My final piece of advice would be get to know your professors!  They will guide you through your time here, and will go out of their way to help you find internships, jobs, etc.  We are fortunate enough to have some amazing professors in our department, so make sure to take advantage of that!
    • My favorite memories have all been involving the people I’ve had the opportunity to meet and work with.  The Hospitality industry really is all about who you know your relationships with people, and I’ve worked hard to maintain those relationships throughout the years.  I’ve met some truly inspiring, incredible people along the way and my life has been changed because of them!  Also, I’ve enjoyed seeing the events and organizations I’ve been a part of grow over the past few years.  It’s incredible to me that PCMA is the size that is today.  Just a few years ago we had about 20 members, and now today we have almost 100!  It’s been a huge transition and I’ve loved being a part of it over the years!  With Le Gourmet, it’s been an amazing experience to meet the high-profile professionals, as well as seeing this huge event come together.  As for the hospitality department itself, I’ve enjoyed watching the program grow as we switched to the new school.  We are becoming very well known across the country, and I know that is only going to continue over the years!

Special Events Intern Position: Big Brothers Big Sisters of Harrisonburg-Rockingham County

Special Events Intern
Spring 2013

Reports To: Resource Development Director
Time Commitment: Part-Time, 10-25 hours/week

Big Brothers Big Sisters has 2 upcoming events that they will need assistance in implementing; Bowl for Kids’ Sake (March 16, 2013) and the Start Something BIG Breakfast (May 8, 2013)

AGENCY MISSION:

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Harrisonburg-Rockingham County provides children facing adversity with strong and enduring, professionally supported one-to-one mentoring relationships that change their lives for the better, forever.

TEAM CONCEPT:

Team members work together cooperatively and collaboratively to achieve the mission of the organization.  Team members communicate effectively and respectfully with each other through face-to-face meetings, emails and other methods to keep each other abreast of information that needs to be shared.  Team members are supportive of each other’s roles and responsibilities within the agency.  Team members maintain confidentiality regarding donors and clients of the agency and project a favorable image of the agency to promote its aims and objectives and to support fundraising efforts.

TEAM CONTRIBUTION:

Responsibilities will include, but are not limited to:

  • contacting groups to encourage involvement and in-kind donations
  • coordinating involvement with team captains and sponsors
  • creating and distributing promotional materials
  • contacting media providers to promote special events
  • developing and updating website layout and generating reports with web registration and donation information
  • assist with planning and implementing of special events
  • tracking and recording all contacts and donations into data management system, Raiser’s Edge
  • meeting weekly with Resource Development Director to assess progress and receive feedback

CONTACT INFORMATION:

Lindsey Douglas
Resource Development Director
lindsey@bbbshr.org

Hospitality Members of PCMA work Homecoming Concessions!

Our Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) Student Chapter is dedicated to service, education, and leadership. This past weekend, PCMA worked hard at the Homecoming game in efforts to raise money to go towards member attendance at the PCMA National Convening Leaders Conference being held in Orlando, Florida. The members used their finest hospitality skills and enthusiasm to sell concessions items such as popcorn, hotdogs, pretzels, sodas, and hot cocoa. They had a fantastic experience working with the JMU community and plan to work more concessions in hopes to get as many members as possible to the National Conference! A special congratulations to the PCMA Treasurer, Jaclyn Silva, for implementing the entire fundraiser and being such an encouraging leader!